Studio Techniques: One Light Photography Tutorial
In the next image, I used an Elinchrom strobe with a standard reflector and medium grid. This one was actually shot during a demo I gave for Elinchrom/Manfrotto during Photoshop World in Orlando. My model is standing very close to the background and the strobe is aimed from a high position pointing downward. The effect on the background is one I really like because it gives a nice direction to the light and mimics the beautiful beams of light you sometimes see in nature. When you position the model correctly (and frame the shot accordingly), you can have the suggestion that the model is really captivated by the light.
Changing the position of the model can vary the light hitting the model. Here, I chose a high-contrast solution in which the model is actually more hit by the sides of the light than straight on. If you like a less-contrasty look, you can move the model back slightly, but remember you’ll have to meter the light hitting the face of the model again. It will change the output on the background compared to the light of the model, which could take away some of the mood of the shot. If you use two strobes for this kind of look, you can change the ratio between the two strobes, but with one strobe you’ll have to balance the two together (model and background).
With this setup (and many others), it’s important to meter on several spots in the face. The light is often very close to the model and I’ve seen setups were there’s more than a stop of difference between the top of the head and under the chin (where I normally measure the light). So make sure you meter on several locations on the face aimed toward the light source to make sure you don’t blow out the skin.